31 Flavors of Anxiety

I’ve never been happy with my order at an ice cream store. The one I get is usually the one I’ve sampled and order half out of guiltiness for a free taste and half out of lack of desire to waste more plastic spoons.  The fact that I always have so many choices leads to my apprehension and ultimate unhappiness. When you look in the freezer, and find only one box, there is much less choice and a higher probability of being happy in your decision to eat flavored frozen cream. I’ve even found myself angry leaving the Wendy’s drive thru with a Frosty in my hand thinking, “Damn, I should have gotten the vanilla.”

Although this may just be the curse of being an indecisive Libra, it is also rooted in the fact that I can’t eat much ice cream. I can usually order an appetizer and a dinner, to satisfy two cravings. But, if there are two ice creams I want, I must either mix them (which leads to complete disaster—mixing grapefruit and pistachio gelato is a definite mistake) or just try to give up one for the other.

“The grass always seems greener on the other side.” It’s true in relationships, jobs, and ice cream purchases. Sure, mint chocolate chip is never going to disappoint, but how will you know what delights are held in the “Monster Mash,” “Dino Bubble Gum” or the “Witch Cake?” Like I said, sure we can sample, and make that poor minimum wage teenager work ten seconds more than they’d like to serve your caloric desires, but ultimately, it will only make the decision harder. Great, now you like all five you sampled and are left with the inevitably regrettable selection. Baskin Robbins is like 31 flavors of anxiety for me.

Have you ever ordered ice cream with friends? I’ll bet you have always tried theirs (as long as you’re not a germ-freak, in which case you just push your desire to lick their cone into that realm of imaginary squirming germ land where most of your paranoia of the world resides in an anti-bacterial pool of faux cleanliness which prevents you from permanently locking your door, never to leave your immaculately polished living environment where no bacteria could ever dream of cultivating a home. Or, you just use your spoon, which, defying germ theory somehow makes it OK.) You want to try theirs to make you feel either better or worse about your decision, and it usually does the opposite for your friend.

Eating ice cream out is not as enjoyable for me as it appears to be for most other people. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and would get laughed out of birthday parties for rejecting cake with the feeble excuse, “I don’t like cake.” It wasn’t that I thought it tasted bad, most cakes just had so much sugar I could feel it grating upon my teeth like a mouthful of sweetened sand. So, I grew up and tolerate cake now, nevertheless insisting upon a cheerleader size, “small slice.”

To achieve the goal of living in the moment—not regretting the past and not feeling nervous about the future—I should stay out of the ice cream parlor, and just eat a Bomb Pop or a Neapolitan sandwich bar once in a while.